Voted the World’s Best Seaside Park

My Playground, 1950

In the 1950s my brother and I would ride our bikes from King Street to the beach and spend the entire day there…summer after summer and even during the winter, scouring the beach to find some treasure that had washed up on the sand.

Skip Littlefield was a good friend of my family. He was so kind to my brother Joseph & I after my father died . We would look for him at the Boardwalk to see if we could get passes to different rides and he always said yes.

My dad, Joseph D. Kenney was a deputy sheriff & jailer and my mom, Opal, was active in the Native Daughters & other community organizations. Skip Littlefield and the Canfield’s were names I grew up with. I believe Larry went to school with my brother, Joe Kenney…a king-sized football player at SC High.

My mom took on two jobs to support us after his death in 1952. She was a social worker during the day and a cashier at the plunge at night . Many an evening would find my brother, Joseph, and I at the plunge while my mother worked. We didn’t have much money but I was the richest child in Santa Cruz because of the Boardwalk.

The smells have never left me. The ocean, the Plunge, incredible hamburgers , fries and Delaware Punch soda. What more could a child ask for? My playground was the Dipper, Skee-ball, bumper cars, the Arcade with the fortune teller, beauty contests and the best fireworks ever. I could go on for a long time.

Happy Birthday to the Beach Boardwalk. May you create another 100 years of memories for adults and children everywhere. Thank you Skip and Lawrence for keeping the torch lit.

Opal Frances Kenney

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